I like Modern British Cooking especially when delivered with a flair and elegance which out-classes the snobbishly French fashion of over-stylised cuisine that perhaps a few too many Brits have adopted in the past. Even better when it is served within the walls of an under-stated country establishment, where you can relax in the company of good friends.
We ate carefully spiced and precisely balanced ingredients which had been confidently put together to correlate agreeably. Beetroot amuse bouche had just sufficient spicy heat and cumin fragrance to complement the sweet beet’ puree, which stood up to the topping of smoked eel cream that actually resembled the texture of pate. Breads were perfectly soft and warm. Who would have thought of putting lobster with dahl – I am so glad they did. A risotto had a dense rich woodiness from chestnuts and English, yes English, truffle with a piquancy coming from the cheese. Scallops, my sister-in-law told us, were cooked to perfection and arranged within a neatly colourful pea and chorizo surround. I tried to quell excitement in anticipation of the main event. Delicately steamed turbot sat above chicken and vegetable broth, which only just failed to eclipse the outstanding performance by the Pembrokeshire lobster and spiced creamy lentils. Venison was a triumph cooked exactly to order that brought satisfying smiles to those dining at our table.
A pre-dessert was a sensational take on boiled egg with soldiers. I won’t give the game away completely….but it is worth ordering dessert just for this. If you like silky textures and mango, you will love this. Dessert was of course, impeccably produced, and like everything else was assembled to a clean, modern and modest style, where the palate gets the best deal.
At the risk of almost never finishing this comment, comfort, atmosphere, service, and wine are quite deserving of mention, but it is obvious where the emphasis is, and should be.
Unspeakably good! Need I say, the sort of food that makes me enthuse all the way home. Now for the real test : can they maintain this standard? I, for one, intend to find out.